Music this term
The current music list for this term can be downloaded here.
Singing in the Choir of Peterhouse in the atmospheric, intimate and candlelit Chapel is a memorable and unique experience, and is for members of the choir one of the highlights of their time at Cambridge. The Director of Music is always interested in hearing from anyone who would like to contribute to the musical life of the Chapel, and to join the choir. There are still places in the choir for singers of all voice parts starting this academic year: for more information, or to arrange an audition, please email the Director of Music.
Peterhouse participates in the University-wide Choral Scholarship scheme: the deadline for applications is in February each year and auditions take place in March. Anyone with an offer for a place to study at Peterhouse is eligible to apply. If you are interested in applying for a Choral Scholarship, details of how to apply can be found on the University website which includes information about how to prepare and what to expect at the audition. You don't have to be a music student to apply: members of the Choir study a wide range of subjects. To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of the application form (available here), or contact the Director of Music for more information.
If you are interested in applying for an Organ Scholarship at Peterhouse, please click here. The deadline for applications is at the beginning of September. For more information about how to apply for the Organ Scholarship, please visit here. The Director of Music is always happy to hear from potential applicants.
Never weather-beaten sail (Trilo) by Simon Jackson
About the choir
Peterhouse Chapel Choir is a friendly and diverse group of singers drawn from the student body of the College and beyond. The Choir is directed by the College's Director of Music, Dr Simon Jackson, and our two undergraduate Organ Scholars. It consists of about twenty-five auditioned singers (SATB) who receive exhibitions or scholarships, singing music from across the centuries in our beautiful candle-lit Chapel. While the time commitment is relatively low, the Choir's musical standards are consistently high. For singers it represents an unparalleled opportunity to play a vital role in a tight-knit and intimate ensemble. Many go on to cathedral choral scholarships or postgraduate vocal studies.
Choral Evensong is sung twice weekly during Full Term, on Wednesdays (at 6.30pm, Michaelmas and Lent Term only) and Sundays (at 6pm). Choral Eucharist is sung once a term at a 6pm service of Corporate Communion. The Choir also sings grace in hall for the four annual College Feasts.
In recent years, the Choir has been exploring repertoire written for and performed in Peterhouse Chapel when it was first built in the seventeenth century, and preserved in the important music manuscripts known as the Peterhouse partbooks - in some cases rediscovering music that hasn't been heard in around 350 years. The Choir has recently recorded a CD of music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, due for release soon.
But the Choir doesn't just perform early music: our repertoire stretches from the sixteenth century to the present day and includes pieces commissioned specially for the choir, including Our Gold, a carol by the contemporary composer James Whitbourn (first performed December 2021), setting words by a former Master of Peterhouse Joseph Beaumont. Most recently, we premiered a new work commissioned to celebrate the inauguration of our new Chapel Organ, Vox Angelica, Vox Humana by Roderick Williams (January 2024).
The Choir tours regularly (see below) to some of the finest destinations in Europe and beyond. Recently, tours have flown the Choir to such contrasting destinations as the Faroe Islands, Venice, Latvia and Lithuania, Rome, and Iceland. All tours are generously subsidised by the College, which is extremely supportive towards the Choir and Organ Scholars.
All members of the Choir receive free singing lessons.
Please follow the Choir on Twitter @PeterhouseChoir, on Facebook and Instagram for updates on the Choir's activities, services and concerts. You can also hear a selection of recordings of the Choir here, with more recordings available on our YouTube channel.
Touring is a vital part of the life of Peterhouse Chapel Choir. Musically inspiring and culturally rich, these tours are life-changing opportunities for our organ and choral scholars to see exciting and often unusual destinations and to share their music-making with a wider international audience. Each year, the Choir tours internationally to sing in some of the finest buildings in Europe and beyond: recent destinations have included Lithuania, Latvia, Copenhagen, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Rome.
In July 2023, the Choir spent a week in La Rochelle, preparing for its recent recording of music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, before returning to Cambridge to record the CD.
In July 2022 the Choir toured to Rome, to concerts in S Maria in Campitelli, Portico, San Clemente and at the Anglican Church in Rome, All Saints, where we also sang for a Sunday morning Eucharist. The Organ Scholars enjoyed the opportunity to play music by Frescobaldi on an instrument Frescobaldi had himself played, and the choir sang music by Victoria, Rachmaninov, Orlando Gibbons and others. There was also plenty of opportunity for sight-seeing, including visits to St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Pantheon and - perhaps most memorably - a chance to explore the extraordinary archeology that lies beneath San Clemente following our concert in the church: blissfully cool after the 40 degree heat outside.
Video diaries of some of our recent tours, and recordings of some performances from our tours can be seen on our YouTube channel.